Feeds

UN: APAC is world's most digitally divided region

Urges massive investment in land and under-sea fibre

Seven Steps to Software Security

The Asia Pacific region is the world's most digitally divided, with huge investment in land and sea-based fibre optic networks and improved public-private partnerships necessary to close the gap between the haves and have-nots, the UN has said.

The UN’s Economic and Social Commission for APAC (ESCAP) is holding a three day meeting of policymakers and industry experts in Bangkok this week, designed to thrash out new approaches to the region’s widening ICT gaps.

ESCAP executive secretary Noeleen Heyzer told attendees that the region is the most technologically divided in the world.

Just under a quarter of the population has internet access, compared to the likes of North America (78.4 per cent), Europe (68 per cent) and Latin America and the Caribbean (32.7 per cent).

In addition, only six per cent of APAC-dwellers in developing countries have access to high speed broadband services.

At one end of the scale are countries like Korea – recently proclaimed by the UN as the world’s most advanced ICT economy – and Japan, while at the other, is landlocked Laos.

Here it would cost an individual 111 per cent of their monthly Gross National Income (GNI) to buy a month’s subscription for an entry-level broadband package, while in Korea the equivalent would cost just 1.56 per cent of GNI per capita, the UN said.

Heyzer claimed that internet-based technology advances can help governments run their countries in a more open and efficient manner – through G-clouds and use of Big Data – drive economic growth and spur innovation.

However, the digital divide cuts several ways – across age, education, gender and region – she said.

“Technological innovations continue to astound, but the full potential of ICT will only be realised if these transformative technologies are also accompanied by shared values, shared commitment, and shared solidarity for inclusive and sustainable development, for our people and for our planet,” she said in an opening speech.

“For this to happen, we need strong commitments by governments, private sector, and civil society alike to a common set of values based on principles of sustainability, equal access, social justice.” ESCAP's three-pronged plan to close the divide includes: public-private partnerships to provide cutting edge ICTs; improved capacity building; and massive investment in fibre-optic infrastructure.

ESCAP will be rolling out a regional map of fibre optic routes to assist in the latter, and “more precisely identify communication choke-points, missing links and investment opportunities”, Heyzer said. ®

The Power of One Infographic

More from The Register

next story
You! Pirate! Stop pirating, or we shall admonish you politely. Repeatedly, if necessary
And we shall go about telling people you smell. No, not really
UK Parliament rubber-stamps EMERGENCY data grab 'n' keep bill
Just 49 MPs oppose Drip's rushed timetable
MPs wave through Blighty's 'EMERGENCY' surveillance laws
Only 49 politcos voted against DRIP bill
EU's top data cops to meet Google, Microsoft et al over 'right to be forgotten'
Plan to hammer out 'coherent' guidelines. Good luck chaps!
US judge: YES, cops or feds so can slurp an ENTIRE Gmail account
Crooks don't have folders labelled 'drug records', opines NY beak
Delaware pair nabbed for getting saucy atop Mexican eatery
Burrito meets soft taco in alleged rooftop romp outrage
LightSquared backer sues FCC over spectrum shindy
Why, we might as well have been buying AIR
'Two-speed internet' storm turns FCC.gov into zero-speed website
Deadline for comments on net neutrality shake-up extended to Friday
prev story

Whitepapers

Reducing security risks from open source software
Follow a few strategies and your organization can gain the full benefits of open source and the cloud without compromising the security of your applications.
Consolidation: The Foundation for IT Business Transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.
Application security programs and practises
Follow a few strategies and your organization can gain the full benefits of open source and the cloud without compromising the security of your applications.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.
Consolidation: the foundation for IT and business transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.